It's here: a new combined Disney Plus and Hulu app is now available as a beta version for you to try. The unpredictably named Hulu on Disney Plus app is rolling out as a bundle to subscribers now, and it'll launch more widely in early 2024. If you subscribe to both of the best streaming services separately using the same email address you should be able to use the integrated version too.
The new Disney Plus bundle doesn't deliver 100% of the features of Hulu, however. For Hulu plus Live TV and Premium add-ons you're still going to need to use the Hulu app. And because of rights issues the full Hulu video on demand catalog isn't there yet, so you may well encounter the odd missing favorite such as Modern Family.
Overall, though, it's a pretty good indication of where the Disney streaming ship is sailing. The new beta app is now available to try, so if you've been wondering whether you should get both streamers then you don't have to choose between the two.
How Hulu works in the Disney Plus app
Everything works just as you'd expect. When you open the Disney Plus app you'll see that Hulu now has its own tile at the top alongside Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and National Geographic. That tile takes you to the Hulu hub, which gives you the usual thumbnails for featured shows and movies, recently added content and then shows and movies by category. However, there's not yet a sidebar to for fast access to particular kinds of content, and The Verge reports that there's no Continue Watching synchronsation between the new app and the existing Hulu app.
If you're a parent or look after young children and you don't already have user profiles set up, this would be a good time to do it. Hulu's content is generally for more mature audiences than Disney Plus' core content. Disney says that one of the reasons for launching now in beta is to give "Disney Plus subscribers time to adjust parental controls and establish profiles for the entire family, if they don’t already exist".
According to Disney, one of the key reasons for bringing the two services together is to make it easier to find content. Instead of needing to know what shows are on Hulu and what ones are on Disney Plus, you'll be able to find them in the same app. “One of the things that Hulu on Disney Plus is going to achieve is it’s going to increase engagement, which reduces churn,” says Joe Earley, Disney Entertainment’s president of direct-to-consumer. "I think that people are going to discover content they never even realized was on Hulu.”
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Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.